Friday, 6 February 2015

Attempt #59: Crunchy raw beetroot salad with feta & pear

 A zingy bite for only beetroot lovers. Otherwise, do stay clear from attempting this recipe as beetroot has this strong, earthy minerally flavour that takes a while to get used to. 

The result: As you can see from the photoshot, I tried to have more pear in the salad combination but even then, it was not very palatable to my dinner guests. 

Jamie's version:


  • 4 good-sized beetroots, different colours if possible, scrubbed, peeled and cut into fine matchsticks
  • 3 ripe pears, peeled, cored and cut into matchsticks
  • 1 lemon oil dressing recipe
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 200 g feta cheese
  • 1 small bunch fresh mint, smallest leaves picked
  • 1 large handful sunflower seeds, optional

  • Method:
    Remember to wear an apron when chopping beetroot, and wash your board and hands afterwards or you'll get red fingerprints everywhere. If your knife skills aren't up to speed yet, buy one of those matchstick peelers or matchstick mandolins in good cook shops. Then you'll be really quick at it.

    Dress the beetroot and pear matchsticks in a little of the lemon oil dressing and season with some salt and pepper. Taste to check that the flavours are balanced and lovely, and add a little more lemon juice to check the sweetness of the pears and beetroots if you need to.

    Divide the salad between four plates or put it on a big platter, crumble over the creamy white feta, and sprinkle over the baby mint leaves and the sunflower seeds if you're using them. Simple, but it's a treat and a half.

    Attempt #58: Simple summer spaghetti

    Jamie calls it Summer Spaghetti, most likely due to the ingredients are harvested in summer. For me, this is an all year round pasta. First, it is vegan which is a good recipe to keep in mind especially when one wants to go meat free for the meal. 

    It's really simple and amazingly yummy. I love mushrooms, hence I stir fried some Tuscan Brown mushroom to go with the dish. 

    Result of my attempt as below: 

    Jamie's version:


  • 500 g mixed red and yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 150 g black olives, stoned
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 bunch fresh lemon basil, leaves picked
  • 1 bunch fresh marjoram, leaves picked
  • 10 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 400 g spaghetti or linguine
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

  • Method:
    In a large bowl, scrunch the tomatoes with your hands to slightly mush them. Mix in the olives, garlic and vinegar. Tear in the basil and marjoram leaves and pour in the olive oil. Allow to sit for 10 minutes. 

    Cook your pasta in salted boiling water according to the packet instructions until al dente. Drain and quickly toss in with the tomatoes. Call your guests around the table, then taste the juice at the bottom of the bowl and adjust the seasoning if you feel it needs it. Serve right away.

    Sunday, 1 February 2015

    Attempt #57 : ASIAN CHICKEN NOODLE Soup

    I attempted this receipt without high expectation as being Asian (Chinese), we would have access and tasted really good noodle soups in town. However, the twist of marinating the chicken slices with 5 spice powder and combining that with the mixed seeds and peas, it makes the entire dish refreshingly light and yet 'asian-ly' unique. 

    The result: I sliced the peas thinly as personally, I find that this brings out the sweetness of the peas. I omitted the asparagus as I didn't want the entire mix to be too 'earthy' to the palate. 

    1 tablespoon mixed seeds (pumpkin, poppy, sun flower)
    a small handful of raw cashew nuts
    1 quart chicken broth, preferably organic
    2 skinless chicken breast fillets, preferably free-range or organic
    2 teaspoons five-spice powder
    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    a thumb-sized piece of fresh root ginger
    olive oil
    ½ to 1 fresh red chili, to your taste
    4 ounces rice sticks or vermicelli
    a handful of snow peas
    6 thin asparagus spears or 4 regular-sized spears
    6 fresh baby corn or 1/2 cup fresh corn kernels
    soy sauce
    juice of 1 lime
    a small handful of spinach leaves

    1. Put a medium frying pan or wok on a high heat and add the seeds and cashew nuts to it straight away, while it’s heating up.
    2. Put a large saucepan on a high heat. Fill the saucepan with the chicken broth, heat until very hot, and put a lid on it.
    3. Toss the seeds and nuts around until heated through nicely — this will take a couple of minutes.
    4. While this is happening, slice your chicken breasts lengthways into 3 pieces and put them into a bowl. Sprinkle the chicken with the five-spice powder and a good pinch of salt and pepper and stir.
    5. When the seeds and nuts are done, transfer them to a plate.
    6. Put the empty pan back on a high heat. Add a little olive oil to your hot pan with your slices of chicken and cook for 5 minutes, until golden, tossing and turning every now and again.
    7. While the chicken’s cooking, peel and finely slice your ginger and slice your chili.
    8. Take the lid off the pan with the chicken broth and add half the chili, all the ginger, your rice sticks (or vermicelli), snow peas, asparagus, and corn, with 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring. Halve the lime and squeeze in the juice. By the time the rice sticks (or vermicelli) and veggies are done, the chicken will be cooked.
    9. Take a piece of chicken out and slice it lengthways to check if it’s cooked all the way through — when done, remove all the chicken from the pan and slice each piece in half to expose the juicy chicken inside (please don’t be tempted to overcook it).
    10. To serve, divide the spinach leaves between your bowls and pour over the broth, rice sticks (or vermicelli), and vegetables. Divide the chicken pieces over and scatter with the toasted seeds, cashews, and remaining chili.